Peacebuilding en Las Américas

PAV/PAN Peace Baskets Honduras Phase II

by Ondina Murillo, AVP Honduras National Coordinator

The unexpected and surprising arrival of COVID 19 in our country at the beginning of March paralyzed the whole system of daily life and has demanded the rethinking of new alternatives that respond to the current reality. In this context, the levels of violence have increased, manifesting itself in the family, unemployment, hunger, illness, increased poverty, stress, deaths, social isolation, police repression, government corruption.

Traditionally, Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) has been developed through experiential workshops where participants, based on their own life experiences, find answers that encourage changes towards constructive behaviors and positive life situations. The violence generated by COVID, prevents us from continuing in this way. With the aim of contributing, in part, to lessen the destructive effects, the Pan/PAV Peace Baskets Project was born. This new response from AVP is in its second phase. Like the first phase, it has been a relief, a hope that it is possible to continue life with new opportunities. Project participants and families who are in a situation of great disadvantage due to their poverty, unemployment or illness were identified. These families have been given basic food and vegetable seeds so that they can start a family garden at home. Some foods shard were: beans, rice, sugar, oil, eggs, cheese, chicken, wheat and corn flour. In some cases, people also received cereals, hygiene items such as soap, chlorine, hand sanitizer gel; also tomato seeds, carrot, radish, chili, coriander, beans.

Leda García making food for sell.

Eduardo receiving his Peace Basket.

The distribution of the baskets was made through personal deliveries one-by-one in an agreed place. In some cases, the baskets were sent with the help of a facilitator and a person who has private transport. Information about the program and the project were shared through phone calls, in other cases the information was made personally. 30 baskets were distributed among the 30 families, plus a message of peace and hope.

It is very gratifying to see how several beneficiaries immediately started a micro-business and sowing the seeds. Such is the case of Emanuel, a twenty-year-old who studies and makes sales for the support of his mother and brothers. He started with a bakery making donuts and cinnamon rolls that he goes out to sell on his bicycle, from house to house; the following week he made tamales. With the seeds he received, he made a garden for which he obtained a borrowed land, cleaned it and with great interest he planted his garden with the “seeds of peace” as those who have made his garden call it. The sown seeds have begun to grow.

It goes without saying that each of the beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to all the people of good will who without knowing them made it possible for them to have this joy and hope. I feel very full and happy to be part of this new initiative of the Alternatives to Violence (AVP) program. When I see the need of the people, their gratitude and the undertakings for AVP’s genuine response to this new reality that we face today, I feel blessed. I thank the people who put their “grain of sand” to come up with something more than words; I really am a testimony of what AVP can do with people who believe that a life with hope and optimism is possible.

IN MEMORIAM

María Mercedes, an AVP facilitator, benefited from one of the baskets containing cereals and fruits, which she appreciated very much since, due to her suffering from breast cancer, she did not eat any food. This situation was complicated by the arrival of COVID in her life, which finally caused her death.